IOC Stresses Cost Cuts During Tokyo Visit

By Jim Armstrong, AP Sports Writer

TOKYO (AP) — IOC Vice President John Coates kicked off a three-day evaluation of Tokyo's preparations for the 2020 Olympics on Wednesday by emphasizing the need for further cost cuts.

The price tag of the 2020 Games has ballooned since Tokyo won the bid, even after a major cost-cutting effort.

Tokyo Olympic organizers have said that the estimated cost is now 1.4 trillion yen ($12.6 billion). When Tokyo was awarded the Olympics in September 2013, the total was 730 billion yen ($6.6 billion).

Since taking over as IOC president in 2013, Thomas Bach has driven a cost-cutting agenda to entice cities to bid for future games.

Prior to a tour of several venues, Coates met with Tokyo organizers and stressed the need to consider the effect of cost on future bids.

"It is important to us that when the costs of the games and the final analysis become public, they are going to be a reason to attract candidate cities," said Coates, who heads the IOC's coordination commission for the Tokyo Games. "To attract them rather than to scare them off.

"We want to work with you in that regard. So if we appear to be pushing very hard on saving money it is for our own future that we do it, just as much as you want to do it for your taxpayers."

The IOC is encouraging the use of existing and temporary facilities instead of building new ones. Tokyo organizers have already planned to move several events outside the city to do that.

Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike launched a further cost-cutting push after taking office last summer as one estimate for the 2020 Games rose to more than 3 trillion yen ($27 billion).

Local organizers say their efforts to reduce costs have resulted in over 200 billion yen ($1.8 billion) in savings and that further savings are possible.

Coates also is pushing for progress on the allocation of baseball and softball games to Fukushima, an area hit by the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster.

The IOC and Tokyo organizers are eager to use the games as a symbol of recovery from the 2011 disaster.

Entire communities were displaced after meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, 240 kilometers (150 miles) north of Tokyo.

Bach met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last year and suggested staging some events in the northeastern region.

"We need to finalize how many games in baseball and softball go to Fukushima," Coates said. "We really want to honor the commitment that president Bach made to Prime Minister Abe to take events to Fukushima as parts of the recovery and rehabilitation. I think it is critical and we will do that."

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Dear USA Gymnastics Community:I am writing to tell you that USA Gymnastics President and CEO Kerry Perry informed our Board of Directors last night that she will resign effective immediately. On behalf of the board, I want to thank Kerry for her leadership under very difficult circumstances. As you know, USA Gymnastics has been in the midst of a difficult and painful transition to ensure that the safety and interests of our athletes remain at the heart of our mission. While much as been accomplished over the past several months to stabilize the organization, we still face tremendous challenges as we all work to achieve fundamental changes to move our sport forward. We look forward to bringing in new leadership to build on the progress to date, and the board will immediately begin the search for an interim CEO. In the meantime, it has established a management committee to provide organizational oversight to maintain continuity in the day-to-day operations until an interim CEO is named. Additionally, the board is in the process of forming a search committee made up of board members, as well as athletes and others from the gymnastics and NGB community, to find our next permanent leader. Board member and Olympian Brent Lang, president and CEO of Vocera, will chair the committee. We will keep you informed as we work through our urgent leadership issues. I want to assure you that this board is determined to take the necessary steps to support a safe and competitive environment where every athlete can grow, learn life lessons, have fun and succeed. We know the last few years have been very difficult for everyone involved with USA Gymnastics, and we thank you for your patience and support through these challenging days. The athletes, parents, coaches, judges, volunteers, gym owners and USA Gymnastics staff are the heart and soul of USA Gymnastics, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that our athletes and everyone involved with our great sport and movement achieve their fullest potential. Sincerely,Karen GolzChair, Board of DirectorsUSA Gymnastics